Monthly Economic Indicators

Monthly Economic Indicators

The Chamber’s Data and Research team tracks key statistics highlighting the Detroit region’s economic growth and recovery.

Michigan and US Indicators

Monthly Unemployment Rate

Michigan’s August 2022 monthly unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 4.0%. The Detroit MSA’s unemployment rate decreased 1.1 percentage points to 3.5% in July 2022. The national unemployment decreased to 3.7% in August, placing Michigan’s unemployment rate 0.3 percentage points above the nation.

For context, Michigan’s peak unemployment rate during the Great Recession reached 15.4% in July 2009. This measurement is considered a lagging indicator, confirming but not foreshadowing long-term market trends. It’s seen as an indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of an economy.

U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022, following a decrease of 1.6% in the first quarter. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the second-quarter decrease was revised up 0.3 percentage point from the “advance” estimate released in July. The smaller decrease in the second quarter, compared to the first quarter, primarily reflected an upturn in exports and a smaller decrease in federal government spending. For more information, read the full BEA report.

The GDP is measured as the total market value of the goods and services produced within a specific geography during a given time period. Gross domestic product is a key indicator of the general health of the economy and its performance, with increases indicative of economic growth.

Payroll Jobs

The Detroit MSA’s monthly payroll jobs decreased by 700 to 1,998,200 in June 2022, after a decrease by over 500,000 in April 2020 – the lowest level since prior to 1990. The previous largest monthly job cut since 1990 occurred in 2009, with a seasonally adjusted reduction of 61,400 jobs.

Industry sectors across the region experienced major job losses due to pandemic related shutdowns. In the region, manufacturing increased to 255,300 employed individuals in June 2022, an 88% increase from the April 2020 low of 135,900. The leisure and hospitality industry has vastly recovered to pre-pandemic employment levels. As of June 2022, the industry employs 186,200 individuals in the region, just 1.1% below March 2020 employment levels.

New Business Applications

In Michigan, new business applications have totaled over 96,650 year to date. In August 2022, business applications registered at 9,750, a 4.1% decrease compared to August 2021.

New business application growth after a recession is a leading indicator of recovery, and often observed after times of economic hardship. Michigan business applications hit record highs in 2021. Michigan ranked 11th in most business startups among all 50 states in 2021. Michigan business applications totaled 151,270 for 2021, a 59% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, indicating strong entrepreneurial activity. More than 56,550 additional applications were filed in 2021 compared to 2019

Consumer Sentiment

According to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, consumer sentiment increased to 59.5 in the September 2022 survey, up from 58.2 in August. The Consumer Sentiment Index is a statistical measurement that provides an economic indicator of consumers opinion and optimism of the state of the economy.

According to Surveys of Consumers director, Joanne Hsu, Consumer sentiment was essentially unchanged in September, just 1.3 index points above August. The one-year economic outlook continued lifting from the extremely low readings earlier in the summer, but these gains were largely offset by modest declines in the long run outlook. Personal finance components of the index as well as buying conditions for durables remained at similar, relatively low levels from last month. After the marked improvement in sentiment in August, consumers showed signs of uncertainty over the trajectory of the economy. Read full report.

U.S. Manufacturing PMI®

Manufacturing PMI® registered at 52.8% in August 2022. August PMI® indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 27th month in a row.

The Manufacturing PMI® registered at 52.8% the same reading as recorded in July 2022 according to the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®). According to the Institute, the PMI® figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 27th month in a row after contraction in April 2020.

A PMI® value above 42.8%, over a period generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. ISM® states a reading above 50% shows that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting. The index is based on a monthly survey of supply chain managers and measures general direction of economic trends in manufacturing and other sectors.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport Total Passengers

Detroit Metropolitan Airport experienced a 12.0% increase in total passengers in the month of June 2022 compared to the same month last year. In June 2022, 2.5 million passengers utilized the airport. Cargo volumes increased 22.7% year over year for the month of June 2022. Over 36 million pounds cargo were handled by the airport in June 2022.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is Michigan’s largest airport and one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs with more than 1,100 flights per day to and from four continents. Wayne County Airport Authority drives economic activity in the Detroit region, employing more than 86,000 individuals with an annual economic impact of $10.2 billion.

Automotive Economic Indicators

Annual U.S. Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR)

At the beginning of 2020, approximately 16.8 million light vehicle units were anticipated to be sold in the United States for the year.  

In August 2022, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) decreased to approximately 13.1 million light vehicle units, from 13.3 million units in July 2022, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ongoing chip shortage is not yet finished, but has eased substantially since its peak. April’s sales pace has increased 6.4 million units since the manufacturing shutdown in April 2020. According to Cox Automotive, U.S. light-vehicle sales are expected to reach 15.3 million this year, down 700,000 units from the original forecast from January

Monthly U.S. Light Vehicle Sales

In April 2020, light vehicles sales in the United States experienced the lowest total since early 2010, selling 717,578 units. A decline in sales began in March 2020 with 994,707 units sold, but April was the first full month with widespread manufacturing shutdowns following the stay-at-home orders and closure of nonessential businesses. When comparing April 2019 to April 2020, sales decreased by 85% year over year. Since the reopening of manufacturing, vehicle sales increased to 1.1 million units sold in August 2022. 

U.S. Automotive Production

In July 2022, U.S. auto production decreased to 151,100 units—a 2% decrease from the previous month. Production dramatically decreased to 1,700 in April 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. Followed by the global microchip shortage coming out of the pandemic drastically reduced production, leading to low inventories on dealer lots and lower sales volumes, shortages are not yet finished but production has begun to rebound.

Research & Data

Learn about the region’s economics, workforce and talent, industry clusters and more.

For additional information, contact the Data and Research team.

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